We Now Interrupt This Program for a Public Service Announcement from that Marley Guy...
Saturday, November 15, 2008
As you can imagine, I was excited to be able to hang out on the movie set during the filming of Marley & Me. The one aspect of shooting that made me slightly uncomfortable was the extreme cuteness of the Labradors drafted into service to play Marley. Even when they were being "bad" they were so damn adorable, it was hard not to sigh and think, "Oh, how I'd love to have one of those in my house."
So when the American Kennel Club approached me about doing a public service announcement in conjunction with the movie, warning those who might be smitten by these big, energetic animals what they could be getting themselves into, I gladly agreed. The theme of the PSA is responsible dog ownership. I wanted people considering a dog, especially those drawn by the emotional tug of a heartwarming movie, to pause and think twice about whether they are prepared for everything dog ownership entails. Especially bringing home loving but challenging dogs of the Marley variety.
The sad subtext of Marley & Me is that for every wild, hard-to-control animal like Marley who finds a loving, lifelong home, dozens end up being abandoned. If there is a message I hope readers will take away from my book, and the movie too, it is that dogs are not appliances. They are not fashion accessories. They are not commodities to be blithely discarded when they become inconvenient. The PSA is designed to drive home that lesson while still celebrating the great joys of bringing a dog into a family.
We filmed the PSA on a beautiful farm in rural Pennsylvania about an hour from my home. At my side was my own new addition, Woodson the Lab puppy my family adopted from the movie set. The PSA is being offered to television stations across the country to air as the Marley & Me movie prepares to debut on Christmas day. The PSA comes in 60-, 30-, and 15-second versions, and there is a print ad, too that is being made available to print media around the country.
To view the PSA and see still photos of Woodson and me on the set for the PSA, please follow this link:
The American Kennel Club press release announcing the launch of the PSA begins this way:
AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB, TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX AND
JOHN GROGAN PROMOTE RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERSHIP WITH
MARLEY & ME PSA CAMPAIGN
New York, NY – The American Kennel Club®, in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and John Grogan, announced today the launch of a new public service announcement (PSA) campaign tied to the upcoming film Marley & Me. The campaign can be viewed at www.akc.org/marley and features 60-, 30- and 15-second television spots and a print PSA designed to remind all dog lovers of the commitment it takes to own a dog.
Responsible dog ownership is something Grogan, the author of the best-selling book on which the film is based, knows better than anyone. Marley & Me recounts his life with his rambunctious Labrador Retriever, who quickly grew from an adorable puppy to 97-pound steamroller. In the PSA Grogan states:
“Puppies…they’re so cute. Until they’re not. Then they become 100 pounds of thundering, hairy, yelping, jumping, drooling, go-exactly-where-you-don’t-want-them-to-go… commitment. In a word: Marley.
I’m John Grogan. I was Marley’s patient and loving owner for 13 years. I know there is nothing like the joys and rewards of pet ownership but… someone’s got to be the responsible one… most likely you. “
The PSAs, part of the AKC’s longstanding public education campaign, remind potential dog owners that dogs are a big responsibility and that the decision to buy a puppy should not be taken lightly.
“Unlike other films and aspects of popular culture that idealize dogs, we think Marley & Me depicts a more balanced view of dog ownership and we want to underscore that further through this campaign,” said Daisy Okas, AKC’s Assistant Vice President of Communications. “Dogs bring us love, affection, comfort, security and unrivaled devotion despite our flaws, but there is a lot that is required of us in return for the wonderful privilege of having a dog. We applaud Fox and John Grogan for providing the public with an entertaining story that drives this message home to all animal lovers.”
posted by John Grogan at 8:56 AM